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Sat 28 Feb 2009 11:56 AM

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Iran ready to help Iraq with redevelopment

President Ahmadinejad made his comments during a visit to Tehran by the Iraqi president.

Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said the Islamic state wanted to help neighbouring Iraq to accelerate its development, state television reported.Ahmadinejad met Iraqi president Jalal Talabani on Friday during his second trip to Iran since 2007.

"Iran's help to accelerate Iraq's progress has no limit. Iran is ready to offer Iraq its experiences in every field possible," state television quoted Ahmadinejad as saying during the meeting,

There were no further details, but Iran has previously said it is ready to help in fields such as agriculture, the economy, transport and energy.

Washington accuses Tehran of supplying weapons and training to Shi'ite militias in Iraq, a charge Tehran denies.

Analysts say Iran seeks a stable Iraq but at the same time wants to make life difficult for occupying U.S. forces.

US President Barack Obama announced on Friday the withdrawal of all American combat forces from Iraq by August 2010, administration officials said.

Ahmadinejad, whose government is at odds with Washington over Tehran's nuclear programme, has repeatedly called for US forces to leave Iraq, blaming them for violence that has killed tens of thousands of Iraqis since the 2003 invasion.

The level of violence in Iraq has subsided but lethal bomb and gun attacks are still common.

Iraq's Shi'ite Muslim-led government has urged both sides not to use Iraq as a proxy battleground.

"We have no other option but to be a good neighbour with Iran," Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said in a statement. "Iraq won't be a land in which other people can settle their accounts."

Ahmadinejad travelled to Iraq in March 2008 in the first visit by an Iranian president to Iraq, displaying the improving relations between Tehran and Baghdad.

Iran and Iraq fought a bloody war in the 1980s. (Reuters)

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